So after a long winded and very impatient plead for help on ATP's feedback form on their web site I actually got a response. Looks like they had a bad batch that went out and they are allowing me to RMA the purchase. Here is his email...
Randy Chen wrote:
I am sorry for that has happen to you. You have our most sincere apology from ATP. There was a bad batch that was ship out to the market.
After we have notice the problem with that bad, we have corrected the problem. We would like to kindly ask you to ship the item back to us and we can replace the newer version of the ToughDrive for you.
Can you please provide your shipping address (no P.O. Box, please) and your phone number, and once I receive your shipping address, I will reply you with a RMA number and instruction on how to send back the item for a replacement.
If you have anymore question, please feel free to let us know. Thanks you.
Customer Support | ATP | tel: 1-408-732-5829 |
This is great news. I now have the RMA number and 14 days to return the item. I'am actually impressed with turn around time with this. They just might win my business back!
I made a decision a while ago to move my entire working environment onto a portable USB Drive. In order to do I figured I would need the strongest and most durable pen drive on the market. I shopped around and found the ATP ToughDrive. It boasts lightening fast transfer speeds, water resistance and even shock resistance. This looks very promising so I bought one.
A week later the drive went dead. 0 bytes free, 0 bytes in size, etc.. Couldn't format the damn thing, couldn't recover any of my information. I wanted to throw it at the cat maybe then it would be of some use.
Being a guy with some (very little) patience I returned that drive via the whole RMA process. They instructed that I will have to wait over a month for this to happen and since the store couldn't be sure that the manufacturer would recognize the defect I had to purchase a new one. I just wanted my portable environment back online so I agreed.
Less than a week later the second one died. That was this morning. The exact same symptoms as before. My patience has ran out, and now I have to go through the whole RMA process for this drive as well.
On the ATP Web site I filled out their contact form, and no response yet. Nor do I actually expect to hear back from them. I can only hope they care about thier customers...
I don't want to give up on this whole portable environment thing, so I decided to go with the (hopefully) best. SanDisk has been producing removable media for years and they have a drive actually cased in Titanium. I ran up to the local shop and bought one.
Lets hope this sucker doesn't blink out on me like the garbage ATP drive.
First off I want to state that whenever I find a great piece of software I do buy it. I'm not one of those leech's that suck the life out of a software company by stealing their products.
With that said, everyone knows about the major shift in the big players in the software industry to take care of and sometimes even coddle the developer. They know that if you get into the hearts and minds of the developer they will bring their skills into the organizations and essentially start the sales process for you. Why do you think the MVP membership went from, what 1000 people a few years ago to over 2000 people now? Because it directly effects sales! You build an army, treat they fairly well, and they will fight for you. I'm sure you can see this trend in your own microcosm.
Some of you know that I have my house wired up with the X10 devices. Yes, I'm a geek, my wife knows I'm a geek and knew I was a geek before we got hitched and I can control my living room lights from my cell phone from any place in the world. Sometimes she likes the convenience, but sometimes with the X10 fails me its kind of annoying.
A quick digression..
I have a motion detector outside the main door of our house, which controls the light outside that door as well. Well I think the battery was almost dead in the motion detector and some how the device it started to control was reset back to A1. Well A1 is my fish tank. So for about a week our fish tank would randomly turn on and off. Makes for a fun ghost story to friends, but annoying at 3am when your trying to sleep and a cat wanders by your front door.
Back to my post...
Lately I just haven't been all that impressed with the lack of reliability in the X10 devices. So I wanted to find something much more reliable. Shop around, find a few other products, find out what sort of price range they are in, what devices they can control, and how can I write software to control these devices.
Enter INSTEON. They boast that it is fully compatible with my X10 devices and has great reliability. Looks too good to be true.
It is too good to be true.
They require developers to fork out $100 before you get access to anything. Even their forums are limited to paid customers only. This really sucks for us hobbyist geeks that want to throw a bit of code together in our spare time to control a few lights. No free SDK, no free support. Ignore the developer.
I decided to email that and ask if this was true. They actually responded quite quickly, under 24 hours, but with bad news. No matter who you are you must pay the $100.
In my humble opinion, having this barrier to entry is going to only slow their adoption down. In fact I refuse to pay them a penny until I can get solid confirmation that it will actually do what I want and need. Is there any sort of C# code which I can stuff into my apps? What does the SDK look like? etc..
Time to dig up some of the other competitors; slow your product adoption.